So, you decided to give Go Sober for October a go? Congratulations and well done. But a few days in, you might be struggling a bit so we thought it might be apt to remind you why you’re doing this amazing exercise.
What happens to your body when you stop drinking and how does quitting alcohol affect your mind and health? Bottom of Form People across the world are being urged to go booze-free this month and Go Sober for October instead. We all know that cutting down on alcohol can help improve our liver and heart health, but there are a whole host of different benefits to going teetotal. So what are they, and how long before you see the effect on your overall health?
Some health benefits will be noticeable straight away. Raised blood pressure will come down and may return to normal. Your sleep pattern and quality will improve, so you’ll feel more refreshed when you get up in the morning.
Your liver will be helped too but how much will depend on how much damage has already been done due to alcohol.
It’s worth noting that the initial effects when you stop drinking won’t always be positive if you’re a heavy drinker. You may experience withdrawal symptoms such as trembling hands, headaches and nausea.
If you are experiencing these symptom and unless your doctor has told you that it is essential that you stop drinking immediately, you would probably find it better to cut down more slowly and steadily until you reach the low risk drinking guidelines or stop completely.
Alcohol is associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression, so, despite its popular image, it won’t help you feel relaxed if you’re stressed. It is also linked with self-harm or suicidal thoughts.
In people who drink regularly and heavily, alcohol can cause your memory to be impaired and may put you at increased risk of severe mental illness. When you stop drinking, your risks are reduced but if the damage has already been done to your brain cells, not all the harm can be reversed.
As far as relationships are concerned, drinking heavily can lead to bad mood swings and aggression, an important catalyst for domestic violence. Going sober has a lot to commend it in the realms of significant relationships.
It’s a myth that alcohol is an aphrodisiac. In fact, alcohol can reduce your sensitivity and can interfere with a man’s performance. For both men and women, alcohol can reduce fertility, so if you are both heavy drinkers, it may be more difficult to conceive.
Going sober can improve how you look as alcohol causes dehydration and dry skin. Plus, the calories in alcohol often go unrecognised and contribute to people being overweight and obese.
Cutting out alcohol can also help prevent migraines and improve quality of sleep. Not drinking reduces your risk of several types of cancer, including breast and bowel cancer.
And don’t forget how much money you’ll save and the positive impact you’ll have on those around you. If you have children, showing them that a normal life doesn’t have to feature alcohol means they are growing up in a healthier, safer environment.
If you, or someone you love, is struggling with staying sober for October (or any other time there’s an attempt to stop drinking), it may be time to get some professional help.
Tabor Group is a leading provider of residential addiction treatment services in Ireland. We provide support and care to hundreds of clients suffering from addictions to alcohol, substances, gambling and eating disorders. For more information on Tabor Group’s services, click here.